nissan leaf at SAE World Congress 2012

Telsa Motors just rolled out the first of it solar-powered Supercharger network in the U.S., but Ecotricity is challenging the California automaker in setting up long-distance charge points the UK through its relationship with Nissan.

Nissan is installing its fast-charge points at strategic locations on Ecotricity's 'Electric Highway' motorway charging network. They're 50 kW DC fast-charge points that allow EVs to recharge to around 80 percent full in about 30 minutes, depending on the make and how full the battery is. "By introducing fast charging infrastructure at strategic motorway service stations, Nissan and Ecotricity are removing that worry and making EVs practical to a whole new selection of buyers," said Jim Wright, managing director of Nissan Motor (GB), in a statement, which is available below.

So far, the EVSE units have been installed in designated parking bays at Welcome Break motorway services in South Mimms (M25/A1), Oxford (M40) and Hopwood Park (M42). In July, Ecotricity completed phase one of the Electric Highway, which joined the cities of London, Exeter and Manchester. The company expects phase two to be completed this year, bringing 'top up zones' to every Welcome Break motorway service in Great Britain.

So far, the Ecotricity charging stations are free to access. Users just need to register for a free smartcard. The company launched the Electric Highway campaign to kick-start Britain's electric car revolution.
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Game-changing moment for electric cars

01 October 2012
  • ŸFast chargers now available at motorway services on M25/A1, M40 and M42
  • Recharge an electric car in approximately 30 minutes
  • Free-to-use for all EV drivers
In a game-changing moment in making electric cars a practical choice for motorists, Nissan has opened its first fast-charge points at strategic locations on Ecotricity's 'Electric Highway' motorway charging network.

It means electric cars will be able to re-charge between London and Birmingham from empty to 80% full in approximately half an hour.

The easy-to-use chargers are situated in designated parking bays at Welcome Break motorway services in South Mimms (M25/A1), Oxford (M40) and Hopwood Park (M42).
And at a time when petrol prices are spiralling upwards, the charging won't just be convenient – it will be free too!

Unlike fuelling a conventional car, EVs can be left unattended while charging. This means drivers can relax, grab some food or answer the call of nature while their EV 'refuels'.

Jim Wright, Managing Director of Nissan Motor (GB) said: "Many drivers would love to experience the convenience and cost saving benefits of a 100% electric vehicle such as the Nissan LEAF. But some still worry about the occasional journey which may be beyond the 109 mile range. By introducing fast charging infrastructure at strategic motorway service stations, Nissan and Ecotricity are removing that worry and making EVs practical to a whole new selection of buyers."

The 50KW DC fast-charge points on Ecotricity's "Electric Highway" will allow cars to recharge in approximately 30 minutes – depending on the make of car and how full the battery is on arrival.

Dale Vince, founder of Green Energy company Ecotricity said: "We believe this will prove to be a game-changing moment in making electric cars a practical choice for motorists – helping to reduce carbon emissions at a time when petrol prices are spiralling upwards.

"We are teaming up with Nissan to install fast chargers at motorway service stations, all powered with 100% renewable energy from Ecotricity.

"With charging times so vastly reduced, you'll be able to drive an electric car from London to Birmingham and fill up the battery along the way, in a time not too dissimilar to filling up a petrol car."

Twelve months ago, Ecotricity rolled out the first phase of their "Electric Highway" with Standard (13 Amp) and Fast (32 Amp) charge points installed at 14 Welcome Break motorway services – connecting London to Bristol and Exeter, and north to Birmingham, Manchester and the Lake District.

The Standard (13 Amp) chargers that take between 8-10 hours to fill up are being phased out completely over the next couple of months and replaced by updated Fast (32 Amp) chargers.

Transport Minister Norman Baker said: "I welcome this ground-breaking project which will be a huge boon to drivers of electric cars.

"Electric vehicles are spearheading a low carbon revolution in motoring and sales are gathering pace – the number of drivers benefiting from our Plug-In Car Grant this year is already well up on last year and we are barely out of September.

"With more electric vehicles on the road, it is clearly important that there are facilities to recharge them – this plan could deliver a sea change in the sector. A national network of fast chargers powered by the sun and wind where drivers know they can top up their car in the time it takes to drink a coffee will make them confident that they can get from A to B – no matter what the distance between the two."

Electric car owners can register for a free swipe card simply by visiting our for the road section.

Ecotricity has no plans to charge motorists to use its network for the foreseeable future.